The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, which is a partner of FIDH and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), distributed an Urgent Statement on the upcoming trial where the application for the review of the criminal case of the well-known human rights defender, director of the human rights organization “AIR” AZIMZHAN ASKAROV will be considered.
The Chui oblast court address: 62 Yudakhin str., Bishkek. Tel.: + 996 312 21 45 58.
Azimzhan Askarov is in the colony No. 19 of the State Penal Correction Service of the Kyrgyz Republic, he is 68 years old, seriously ill, recognized as a political prisoner and a victim of torture.
The Observatory issued a press release on the upcoming trial to review the sentence rendered to Azimzhan Askarov, director of the human rights organization “Air”, who is currently serving a life sentence.
According to the information received, on 30 July, 2019, at 10 a.m. the Chui oblast court of Kyrgyzstan will consider the status of Azimzhan Askarov after the amendments to the Criminal Code entered into force on 1 January. The hearing originally scheduled for 16 July 2019 was postponed due to delays in selection of judges.
The revision is going to be carried out in accordance with the request filed by Mr. Askarov on 13 February 2019. In accordance with the legislation of Kyrgyzstan, if the offense is stopped or mitigated, such changes should be applied to persons serving a sentence. In the same letter, Mr. Askarov asked the Court to hold a trial in his presence. Mr. Askarov has already served nine years of imprisonment after an unfair trial, overshadowed by imperfect investigation, bias, lack of solid evidence and allegations of torture, and the lack of investigation of them. In 2016 the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) ruled that Azimzhan Askarov was arbitrarily detained and did not have a fair trial, and therefore demanded his release (see background information).
In addition, according to Mr. Askarov’s lawyers, who visited him in prison on 10 April 2019, Mr. Askarov’s health seriously deteriorated . In accordance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the "Nelson Mandela Rules", persons with diseases "for whom being in prison would mean a deterioration of their condition should not be held in prisons".
The Observatory expresses its extreme concern about Mr. Askarov’s state of health and urges the Kyrgyz authorities to immediately release Mr. Askarov from prison, as his detention is arbitrary, and also calls for his release due to medical reasons. In the meantime, the authorities should take the necessary measures to provide him with medical assistance.
On 1 July 2018, eight large, well-known and reputable human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Frontline Defenders and others, sent their general letter to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Security Policy.
On 4 July 2019, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) issued a legal opinion analyzing the review of the criminal case against human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov. The review of the case took place in the light of the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee, which found numerous human rights violations during the first trial of the case. The ICJ concluded that the violations were not corrected during the review.
Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan believes that Azimzhan Askarov is a victim of torture, since starting from the first days of his transfer to Bishkek he was in prison 47, which is a hospital.
Bir Duino-Kyrygzstan welcomes and supports the political will of the country's top leadership, aimed at entering the legal field, which pays close attention to the fate of the rights of victims and prisoners with special needs in closed institutions of the Kyrgyz Republic. This category of prisoners should have an alternative and the right to access to health care and the right to life, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Kyrgyzstan must not allow deaths of people in closed institutions, since they are categorized as extrajudicial execution.
For additional information, please, contact the Human Rights Movement “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”. The Lawyer’s contact details: + 996 703 40 72 93, + 996 777 40 72 93, office: + 996 312 38 33 30.
Bishkek, 29 July 2019.